Brooks was here


Brooks was here is by far the best composition among the many beautiful pieces created by the musical genius called Thomas Newman. This sound track has trademark Newman written all over it. A subtle piano note accompanied ably by the harmony, leads us all the way through the travails of Brooks; an old inmate who has been “institutionalised” by his imprisonment in Shawshank prison for over forty years. Once outside, he finds it hard to get in terms with the real world, a world he had long forgotten over the course of his prison term. Oblivious of the external metamorphosis, he steps outside only to receive a rude shock. Tired of being subjected to a test for which he has no energy to put up with, he decides to put an end to his misery by hanging himself.

A million reviews and blogs isn’t enough to marvel at this piece of music and of course, the brilliant display by the late James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen in this particular sequence. Over the course of the movie, this scene just blends so damn well, it made me want to eat my heart out. I just kept wishing for this feel of brilliance to continue forever. In my first viewing of the movie, the tale alone had me on the corner of my seat. But on a repeat viewing, the music caught onto me like a leech. It made me wonder, how in the hell could I have missed out on it the first time. I still remember, I watched the movie on HBO when I was in eleventh grade. Mum was with me the whole time and by the end, both of us were in tears. I jumped in joy when the end titles came on! I was glad that Andy finally made out and Red was on his way to meet him after his release (Hey, don’t cry for a spoiler now! You knew this was a review when you started. Get out and watch the movie if you haven’t till now!) I was promoting the movie to every one I knew but there were no takers in school. Then, in college, IMDB had got onto everyone and there it was, my darling dearest, sitting pretty on second spot in the website’s Top 250 next to The Godfather! You can’t imagine my joy that day!

Apart from Brooks Was Here, The Stoic Theme with its monochrome strings against a ground of bass which is further developed throughout the score, is again brilliant, welcoming us to the Shawshank Prison. So was Red and End Title fill you with a sense of hope and freedom. Beautiful subdued compositions using cello and piano convey the many messages that characters and the movie overall try to portray. If in case you find this music boring, I suggest you give it another try. Allow the music to grow onto you and once it does, I assure you it will have you rivetted and will urge you to discover more and new exciting melodies.

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